Spratly Island and the Paracels, in Draft Japanese Peace treaty dated July 13, 1951

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Office Memorandum • UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT

TO : NA - Mr. Fearey DATE : July 13, 1951
FROM : OIR/GE - Mr. Boggs
SUBJECT : Spratly Islands and the Paracels, in Draft Japanese Peace Treaty

694.001/7-1351 CS CVE The following information and suggestions are furnished in response to your telephone request this morning.

1. Spratly Island and the Paracel Islands

I would suggest adding to the present draft, Article 2, paragraph (f), quoted below, the words which are underscored:

(f) Japan renounces all right, title and claim to Spratly Island and the Paracel Islands, and all other islands in the South China Sea.

As you will recall, there has been confusion regarding the islands to which the name "Paracel Islands" applies. The ones in question comprise two small groups, and outliers, roughly 120 to 200 nautical miles southeast of Hainan Island (Kwangtung province, China). The two groups are the Amphitrite Group and the Crescent Group. The Paracels have sometimes been confused with the Shonan Islands, to which Spratly (Storm) Island belongs, near the large area known as "Dangerous Ground"—west of Palawan, in the Philippines—and also with "Rasa" or Okino Daito, in the Daito Islands, east of the southern Ryukyus (see Article 3 of the present draft treaty). All of these except "Rasa" are in the South China Sea.

The Paracel Islands in question are reported to have been claimed by China in 1909, by France in 1932, and by Japan in 1933. For convenient reference there is attached a copy of an article by Dr. J. Kunst, which appeared in the Japan Times, Tokyo, August 27, 1933 (here copied from an earlier typewritten copy, with an unexplained attribution of the last two paragraphs to the Manchurian Daily News at the very end).

DO/R


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2. Liancourt Rocks

The Liancourt Rocks (Takeshima) were among the islands to which, in a 1949 draft treaty, Japan would have renounced claim to Korea. In a Japanese Foreign Office publication, entitled "Minor Islands Adjacent to Japan Proper", Part IV, June 1947, Liancourt Rocks are included. It may therefore be advisable to name them specifically in the draft treaty, in some such form as the following (Article 2):

(a) Japan, recognizing the independence of Korea, renounces all right, title and claim to Korea, including the islands of Quelpart, Port Hamilton and, Dagelet, and Liancourt Rocks.

These rocky islets are described as follows in the U.S. Hydrographic Office publication no. 123A, Sailing Directions for Japan, Volume I (1st ed., 1945):

Take Shima (Liancourt Rocks) (37°15' N., 131°52' E., H.O. Chart 3320) consist of two barren, guano-whitened, and uninhabited rocky islets and several rocks, which appear to be steep-to. They lie near the steamer track leading from Tsushima Strait to Vladivostok and to Hokkaido, in a position 85 miles northwestward of the Oki Retto, and as they have no navigational aids they present a hazard to mariners navigating in their vicinity at night or in thick weather. Both islets are cliffy, and the western and highest has a pointed summit, which rises 515 feet. They are usually visited by seal hunters in July and August (p. 597)


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This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).